BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Lisa Birch has been honing her carving skill, a passion she learned from her father, as she prepares for the upcoming Wheat City Carvers Show, which will take place on Saturday and Sunday at the Royal Oak Inn and Suites.
Carvers from across Western Canada will descend on Brandon for the seventh annual Wheat City Carvers Show and Competition on Saturday and Sunday.
The show will feature hundreds of carvings from carvers of varying skill levels and ages, as the youngest carver to enter a piece in the competition is only eight years old.
"People that come to check out the show will see an amazing collection of different carvings from Manitoba and Saskatchewan," said Lisa Birch, who has been carving for eight years and was introduced to the trade by her father.
The craft of carving is truly a labour of love, said Birch, sometimes taking 80 to 100 hours to complete a single piece, but the time pales in comparison to the feeling the artist gets when the carving is finally completed.
"It’s really rewarding to finish a piece," Birch said.
Last year, Birch entered an owl into the competition and after hours upon hours of carving, the work was just beginning. After the owl had been carved, she said the process of painting the bird took over, requiring hours of research and a steady brush hand to bring the bird to life.
"You may end up using six or eight colours of brown for an owl, just to get the dimension in there and there is a lot of skill level involved in that as well," Birch said, also joking that she almost gave herself "eye damage" getting the intricate detail on the wings.
The show is hosted by the Wheat City Carving Club and Birch said it was important to host events that gave the public an opportunity to see the wealth of talented carvers we have in the area as well as give recognition to the carvers hard work and dedication to the craft.
The show also gives younger carvers an opportunity to learn from some of the more experienced artists.
"They bring different techniques and you can get close up and see their detail, it is very motivating and helps everyone get better," Birch said. The show encourages the public to check out the carvings and even has carvers ready and willing to help those interested in the craft get started.
The final carving may act as a reward, signifying the completion of the piece, but Birch said the process is just as important.
"It’s extremely relaxing," Birch said. "Sometimes after a long day I’m not sure if I want to go down to the club and carve but I’m always glad that I do because it is a way to talk to some great people and really relax. I’ve learned a lot of things, even about Brandon, since I’ve started."
The show runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Royal Oak Inn and Suites.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition April 9, 2012